The Eyes Have It

Nothing creates proper breed expression like the correct eye. Eyes should not be large. The eyes are oval and are set rather obliquely. That is to say, slanted. A large round horizontally set eye gives a startled and staring look. It also distracts from the exotic aspect of the dog. The eyelids should fit snugly, without this tightness the eye will not appear almond shaped. As of course all eyeballs are round. The color should be a shade of amber or caramel. It is good to have the eye color somewhat match the red in the coat. A glaring yellow eye is not desirable. Puppies often have lighter colored eyes that darken until maturity. This may take several years. Certain bloodlines go through a greenish phase during late puppy hood. This should mature out to a nice rich amber. Eye rim pigmentation is desirable in white-faced dogs, but not faulted if missing. From my observation over the years I would suggest breeders not breed two dogs together with little pigmentation on the eye rim. Very dark brown or black eyes suggest impurity. If one looks at pictures of some of the rural farmer's hunting packs one will see many miss colored dogs with dark pigmentation. There are of course many stunning pure individuals in their native land. I have seen videos of entire packs of hounds that any breeder here would be proud to claim.

Expression is a nebulous thing. Of course there is a wide range of expression in Ibizans. Some, mostly bitches are more reticent and private. I find the males to be more engaging in general. More often than not the Ibizan has a happy, outgoing, somewhat intense aspect. The expression should not be sharp or aggressive. They can respond in an instant. This is part of their hunting heritage. The old Spanish standards always said, “intelligent, but not particularly noble.” I have always found this amusing. An Ibizan is not Rin Tin Tin. The Ibizan has a quick, bright, reactive intelligence that should be reflected in its expression.

As I watch my Ibizans standing in a row on the couch looking out my picture window I am amazed at how observant they are. It is amusing to watch them do a sort of Terminator camera refocus as they watch a distant squirrel. You can almost hear the clicking.

I find that even old dogs retain much of their youthful exuberance in expression and deed.

Nan, 2010